Political Reform in the Arab World: Problems and Prospects
On May 10-11, 2010 the Program on Good Governance and Political Reform in the Arab World at CDDRL held its international inaugural conference. In line with the Arab Reform Program's vision, the conference featured internationally renowned scholars, activists, and practitioners from the Arab world, Europe and the United States. Over the two days, conference participants engaged in multidisciplinary debates addressing hard politics as well as soft politics, and analyzing political reform from different angles, with panels on the economy, state systems, the media, civil society, political opposition, youth politics, and the role of international actors. Problems facing political reform in the Arab world today were discussed and scrutinized, as were possible paths forward. The conference debates unearthed the need for a deep understanding of the problems facing political reform in the region that is driven by an analysis of long-term and often ignored issues that are at the core of political developments. The debates also highlighted that problems and prospects for reform are different in each Arab country because each country has its own unique set of issues and because within each country different ethnic groups, classes, and locales have different takes on and stakes in political developments. The conference closed with a speech by Dr. Saad Eddin Ibrahim.